The new measures are contained in an order, published in the Diário da República, which regulates the teaching conditions of Portuguese Non-Mother Language, specifically for foreign students who attend the national school network.

Until now, foreign students have only replaced the Portuguese subject with Portuguese Non-Mother Language, “attending the remaining subjects of the curriculum as if they were able to access all the contents”, underlines the press office of the Ministry of Education (ME).

Portugal is increasingly a host country for immigrants, recalled in statements to Lusa, the Assistant Secretary of State for Education, João Costa.

Up to 30 different languages

“Today it is normal for there to be more than 30 mother tongues in the same school. Students arrive with very different sociolinguistic profiles, bilingual, speakers of languages ​​from families very distant from the Indo-European ones, without a language of communication”, stated João Costa.

The order published “enables schools to adapt Portuguese language teaching to the reality of each student, for example with more intense immersion periods, allowing them to have language reinforcement before attending the other subjects of the curriculum”, said the secretary of state in a written statement sent to Lusa, stressing that “the inclusive school welcomes all students, all languages ​​and adapts to the needs of each one, without standardisation”.

Now, “the difference, the cultural and linguistic heritage of each one and the integration of families” is more valued.

In addition to the partial attendance of the curriculum guaranteeing more time for an initial period of learning Portuguese, the order also provides that students can attend “activities to be developed during the time period of exemption from the subjects provided for in the curricular matrix of the respective school year”, explains the ME press office.

Portuguese culture

These activities should promote contact with native Portuguese speakers of the same age group, as well as knowledge of the reality and history of the region and contact with institutions in the local community.

During these periods, it is also important to focus on the development of knowledge of the Portuguese language and culture, as well as the promotion of links between cultural aspects of Portugal and the country of origin.

“The recognition and appreciation of diversity as an opportunity and as a source of learning for all, while respecting the multiculturalism of the school community” is another of the advantages that schools should take advantage of.

The ME recalls that the elaboration of this amendment stems from the 21|23 Escola+ learning recovery plan, which provided for specific measures for foreign students who were deprived of the linguistic immersion context during the closing period of schools.